What with twitter launching its IPO a lot of businesses are looking at twitter and wanting to tap into its powerful user base. You know that you should be a part of it, you may even have your self an account. But how can you actually leverage twitter and turn it into a useful tool for your business?
Like many things online, getting a twitter following has a somewhat mystic ambiance about it. But fear not my fledgling warlock, here are some actionable tips for you to graduate to a full on twitter wizard.
Who the heck are you?
Like all social networks, your account is but a drop in the ocean, and just like a lone drop in the wild pacific, your account will become lost. A way to stand out is by crafting an excellent bio.
Your twitter bio is where many people will decide weather or not they want to follow you. This 160-character gem is often overlooked when small businesses are looking at their twitter space.
Obviously don’t leave your bio blank or you will be missing out on the perfect chance to court the twitter sphere.
When writhing a bio try to keep it brief. You want to give people a feel of what you and your account are all about but you don’t want to bore them.
Try some of the following to unlock a rock star twitter bio:
List any organizations or groups you are a member of. When writing your bio make sure you include any companies or organizations that you may be a part of. This does three things; firstly it helps people get a feel of what industries and interest groups that you are a part of. Secondly it helps to promote the organizations that you are a part of, providing you link to their twitter account (tip: use @xxx in your bio to link to a profile). Lastly it adds an air of legitimacy to your profile, showing that no, you are not a Nigerian scammer but in fact a bona fide ‘real-person’.
The same goes for awards and accreditation. If your lucky enough to have won an award, make sure you include it within your bio. This again adds legitimacy to your profile and if you have put the work into winning an award or being accredited for something, you deserve to receive a little notoriety.
Just like the drop in the ocean, to stand out you have to be a little different. The best way I have found to do this is by injecting a bit of your personality. A simple way to do this is to mention what you most enjoy in life. (For example on Snowboarding, peanut butter and chatting shop)
Make sure you cut through the crap and mention what you tweet about. Just make sure you manage to fit in what you tweet about so cut down on the corporate jargon and tell it like it is! This will lead to relevant followers actually interested in what you have to say.
Like anything crafting the perfect twitter bio takes time and adjustments, just be sure to keep it short, relevant and interesting, easier said than done I know.
Share, share and share some more.
Many businesses are starting to understand the importance or creating and marking content as a means of inbound marketing. However a rock star twitter account not only shares their own content but also curates other peoples. You want the content that you share to be right on when it comes to your target market. As a rule, don’t share content for the sakes of sharing, only share awesome stuff. Curating others content also exposes you to new people and leads to people wondering who is this person/organization.
Finding what you want to share is often a difficult step; I like to use the following tools to help:
Feedly. If your unfamiliar with Feedly it is a service that allows you to quickly find relevant content. Set up a Feedly account and add, as a starter, 10 of your industries biggest blogs and 10 of your industries up and coming blogs. This will give you a constant steam of great content to share with your users.
Google Alerts. Possibly my favorite method of finding content to share is Google alerts. You can set GA to email you a list of the day’s top stories meaning that great content comes to you! All you have to do is set up an account; choose what you’re interested in and boom. Sharable, relevant content.
StumbleUpon. Another great resource to find great content to share is StumbleUpon. Once you have set up your profile with what your interests are you are provided with an endless array of sites within those groups the best of which you can share with your audience.
Like the plague, avoid promotion.
No body likes advertised to, if the worldwide cataclysmic shift to inbound marketing is anything to go by. Twitter is not a replacement for newspaper ads or billboards. Constantly and shamelessly promoting your product will do you more harm than good, and in most cases will simply be ignored. Sure if your launching a new product or service you can definitely bring attention and hype to it with the occasional, carefully crafted promotional tweet but make sure its part of your strategy and not its cornerstone.
Follow the right people:
When you first get to twitter, people often start by adding as many people that they can find, in the distant hope that they will follow them back. However I’m here to tell you that you need to follow with a strategy. A great place to start finding people to follow is Wefollow. This service allows you to see the top influences in any specific sector. However don’t go and add the top 100, because unless they know you personally if they have over 80,000 followers’ chances are that they won’t be able to interact with you personally. Another easy way to find great people to follow is by combing through the people that active twitter users within your sector follow, another way is see whom these individuals are conversing with on a regular basis. Following the right people, in a strategic manner is one of the best ways to grow your following. If you can’t imagine having a conversation with a person, its safe to say you probably shouldn’t follow them.
On a weekly basis a myriad of different professionals from a vast swathe of industries join together in a twitter chat. These #chats can literally be on any topic. Getting involved in them not only gives you the chance to learn some relevant, normally awesome information but also allows you to interact and meet with new people in the industry. Tweetreports compiled a great list of twitter chats and what day they take place on.
Interaction and engagement is key on tweeter. Just as you drive interested parties to your profile by engaging in twitter chats and sharing valuable content, a great way to find people to interact with on the twitter sphere is with smart searching. This is especially powerful for small businesses as it allows you to find local users whom you can engage with.
How to smart search: The quickest and easiest way to find people to engage with is by using the following search algorithm.
web-design near:”Vancouver,BC” within:”50mi”
This as you can imagine searches for everything which mentions web design within 50 miles of Vancouver, BC. Once your served your results simply find a recent tweet and interact.
It’s not the 90’s:
Sadly twitter is far from the set and forget digital strategies of the 1990’s. To have a voice and gain a following on twitter, you MUST tweet on a regular basis. The amount obviously comes down to how much time you have available; I would recommend a minimum of 3-5 tweets daily. “What should I tweet?” I hear you cry. Try to mix up what you tweet to keep interest. Some twitter content ideas for you :
– Behind the scenes
– Meet your employees
– Share a video
– Share a photo
– Ask a question
– Share a Quote
– Helpful tips relating to your industry
Show thy self:
On a far to regular basis I see companies whose tweets are the bastion of corporate seriousness. If you have to formal of a tone people either won’t react to it or simply ignore it. The twitter sphere enjoys and engages with tweets of a more conversational setting that show the personalities behind the brand.
Some easy ways to show your personal side when tweeting are:
Did you just read a great article or book? By personally recommending it you achieve two things. Firstly you share great content (see above) and secondly you show people that not only you’re interesting but a great source of information.
Location. Just about every social network has location functionality, and the same goes for twitter. Sharing where you are an what you’re doing is a great way to engage on twitter and get exposure to new people. If you visit a store, location or other company mention them and share the location.
Hobbies. Showcasing your hobbies is a great way to inject some personality onto your twitter profile. If you can try to share either a photo or video of your hobby to really get people interested.
Culture. Engaging on twitter via cultural outputs is both great ways to show your personal side and gain new followers. If you have watched a movie or TV show, join in the conversation by finding the relevant hash tag. A great way to engage in these sorts of conversations is to join in with the twitter chats relating to a specific news story (normally found scrolling at the bottom of every 24hr news channel). This is great because it means that you will be engaging in an active conversation and exposing your self to active tweeters.
A great, often overlooked promotional strategy to use on twitter is the use of giveaways and discounts. By giving your customers something, be it a money off voucher or free bundle it instills the idea that they are getting a great deal. This combined with a sense of urgency help to convince your potential customers to buy before it’s too late! Another great benefit of tweeting a coupon or discount is that it will have a high share rate. Why? Because people who’s friends need your product / services will share it with them exposing you to yet another collection of people.
Everyone loves on the weekend:
It’s easy to only tweet / care about tweeting during working hours, especially if your using a company account. However the HIGHEST interaction on twitter is during the weekends. In fact people are far more likely to share your content / engage with you on a weekend than any other day. The weekend is a great time to show a more personal side to your brand away from the office. If you plan on sharing your hobbies now would be the time to do it!
Creating an engaged twitter audience doesn’t have to be taxing. Make sure you have fun with it.
Now it’s your turn. Let me know in the comments what things do you do on twitter which have helped grow your business?
P.S. Speaking of which I think you might enjoy following me on twitter.